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Greenwich Students Urged to Fight Abuse of Women

GREENWICH, Conn. – After reading “Half the Sky,” a volume detailing the worldwide oppression of women by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, the girls of Greenwich Academy received a visit from the book’s author Monday.

Kristof’s articles for the Times have earned him a Pulitzer Prize and created worldwide momentum for humanitarian causes. His day at Greenwich Academy was the culmination of months of examination of his op-ed columns from the Times, discussion of his book and ongoing conversations about human rights violations among students.

The book, which Kristof co-authored with his wife, Sheryl Wu-Dunn, gets its name from the Chinese proverb "Women hold up half the sky."

Before the school year began, the faculty and many Upper School girls read Kristof's book, which looks at the injustices and the remarkable, yet unlikely, successes of women around the world.

In group discussions, study and student clubs such as Supporting Women Around the Globe, the Upper School community armed itself with facts and knowledge of the forces that are at the core of Kristof’s writings.

Kristof recounted injustices and raised a call to action. He spoke of the importance of understanding his personal stories as a microcosm of the worldwide issue of female oppression, which he called the “paramount moral struggle of the 21st century.”

He stressed the opportunities and the responsibility to use the resources available to change the fate of even one girl in need. “We have totally lucked out, but then the question becomes: How does one go about passing on that advantage? How does one go about discharging that obligation?” he said.

Kristof urged the audience to embrace the movement to end female oppression, based on the content of and reactions to his book. His final directive was: “I'd like to invite you to join this movement and, in the process, find a measure of fulfillment. Find a measure of happiness, and find a measure of perspective in the process of changing the world a little bit."

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